Graphical information

My strengths and weaknesses, as indicated in the marking feedback for the Land of Destruction assessment tasks.

From my short but extensive research on infographics, I concluded that no one uses any outlines for anything, and so I didn’t. I also felt like it needed a booming statistic but it felt weird to be a statistic for my marks. The result was a silly but very accurate percentage.

Three designs later and a lot of rethinking and reworking, here it is. Do you think it’s obvious I like pink? *shudders* Stop being a stereotype, Christine.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Story fried

I am cheap. I mean, I’ll weigh the benefits for whether money will be well-spent but just to properly embed my Storify story onto WordPress, a probably one time only event? I don’t think so. Maybe if I get more obsessed with Storify (which is highly possible considering all the phases I’ve gone through with certain websites and games and just a bunch of stuff like that), I might but until then, I’ll just chuck on the link. It’s a Storify story I made that incorporating written pieces by people who are also doing Networked media. I have compiled the stories in an order that allows the themes to be explored progressively, as though you are walking along a timeline and experiencing all the chronological events.

Well, here it is:

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Waffle Reflection

Assuming you’re a regular on my blog, you probably saw the post I made a couple of posts ago where I designed a game that used QR codes and Twitter. First and foremost, you should know that it took me ages to wrap my head around my concept. This was in fact my third draft at the synopsis/story aspect of it and the second version of my decision tree.

I took the element that was Twitter and really heavily relied on the whole social side of it and I thought I could have the entire game revolving around the path to for lack of better words, networking enlightenment. I decided it would be easier for me to come up with the decisions for the decision tree after I’d figured out the story that lead up to having to make the decisions. It took me the first two drafts to realise that this kind of concept would be far to strange to occur in the real world. On my third attempt, which is the one you see on my blog, I created an alternate galaxy. It would make more sense for them to be farfetched. But beyond that, I wanted there to also be some common elements of what we do here on Earth, with the weirdness of regulations and especially with the idea of social networking.

I decided that rather than having all the usual social networking sites, that after the compulsory step of having a Twitter account and tweeting your progress, the player would be exploring other forms of social media. The ones I picked out were specific to their interests. One about books/reading, one about sports, one about art, one about cooking/food, one about TV shows and one about music/sound. But then I also needed to include the QR codes so I thought of having the game be like a scavenger hunt where clues would lead the player to a place that had items pertinent to the website and where they would find a QR code that lead them there.

Due to the fact that the whole idea of a decision tree is that you make decisions, I had to rethink my initial one. At first, I had more of a progressive road of activities and you really just didn’t make any decisions at all. The more I thought about it, the more confused I got about how to change what I had to something where the player had the opportunity to choose. So I broke it down for myself, I split the six website into two categories and from each major point in the game, the player was given the chance to choose what kind of site they wanted to explore next, whether they would prefer the site to let them be opinionated or just to experience a different side of a culture.

All in all, I think that my concept was fairly good. I liked the way that I was able to incorporate Twitter and QR codes. I also thought that my inclusion of various social media emphasised aspects of my story and how Waffles would be exploring the networks as well. I think my main weakness was that I could’ve worked out the decision tree better. While I think that the organisation of it is quirky and something I enjoy myself, perhaps it would’ve been better if i had made it more traditional style. I also think it could be improved through a better formation of decision-making, say if there were more options and more availability of information.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Media Students Charter

This is the charter before I got my hands on it (Red is original charter; blue is the first person who altered it):

This is the charter after I got my hands on it (Black is a merged version of the original and the changes; pink is my additions):

These changes were done entirely on Google docs, one of Google‘s many useful and wonderful creations. It is a file-sharing aspect of having a G-mail account where people can share documents of most kinds with whoever they choose. I’ve even heard of people collaborating on an essay while using Google docs. I think that first off, it is a really easy way to upload a file and have it be available to a large audience without the audience having to download the file. It is also useful because the users can be made aware of changes to the file and the users can make changes of their own. This is especially appropriate for group work because it allows for work to be completed without all members of a group having to be physically present in changing the piece of work. I guess this is easiest if you are working off of a Microsoft Word document. I also found it useful as a personal storage facility. Pretty sure it’s not supposed to be used in that way, buuuuut, it did allow me the access to images or files I might have needed from a separate computer. All up, I think that is a very simple way to having and keeping files on-hand, sharing them, and keeping up to date with the progress of your group. IT’S ALL SO CONVENIENT. EMBRACE IT GUYS, EMBRACE IT.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Car-ing for the environment

I got my L’s when I was sixteen. Haven’t done much driving since then and admitting that makes me feel old and lazy. But anyway, a lot of my friends have started getting their P’s. I would also like to be able to drive freely. Mum says I can’t have a car till I’m twenty-one. She reckons I won’t have anywhere to drive to anyway. It’s probably more for the feeling of accomplishment or something. Dad said I can have a reasonably priced car, though, a few months ago. I spent that night looking up crash statistics and car ratings and finding the cheapest but most fuel-efficient and safe car on the market. I don’t really drive anymore. Mum reckons I don’t need to anyway because even if I get my P’s, I won’t have anything to drive.When I do drive, I want an awesome car that I can be proud of because it doesn’t emit too much of whatever chemical gas or whatever compound into the atmosphere. I am also terrible at parking… And I have problems adjusting the seat to get a good view of the road. I’d need a really specific car.

So then I came across this article through my RSS feed on Google Reader. Let’s be serious for a minute. I really want this car. It ticks all the boxes. All of them. All of them. Let me spell this out for you.

Requirement Yes/No
Affordable Yep
Environmentally friendly Yes!
Little AND Safe YES
Crazy extra features YES!

This is completely and utterly, the perfect car for me. I owe you one, RSS.

Come on, man. Look at these stats:

“The production Fold will weigh less than 1,100 pounds and will be powered by lithium-ion batteries for a maximum range of about 75 miles. The four in-wheel electric motors have a total output of 20 horsepower, good for a top speed of 31 miles per hour. The design successfully withstood in-house crash- and safety-testing this year, Mr. Isoird said.”

I should definitely add this car name to my Google Alerts.

Anyway, I have to go and be a bratty daughter and beg my parents to teach me to drive and get me this car.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Six Degrees

When I was eleven, my cousin told me that his friend’s brother’s friend’s friend was Guy Sebastian, the 2003 winner of Australian Idol. I just thought this was the greatest, most extraordinary discovery ever, so I told all my friends at school the next day. It occurred to me years later that everyone who is on a first-name basis with me is separated by six degrees from Guy Sebastian. So this meant that everyone that they were on a first-name basis with was seven degrees away. I felt so interconnected because this went the other way as well. I would be six degrees away from all of the contestants on that first season of Australian Idol as well as the judges, the hosts and every friend Guy Sebastian had and would make.

The idea that you can be connected to anyone on the planet through six introductions. So maybe my mum’s friend’s cousin once removed’s husband’s best mate’s aunty is Goldie Hawn. Who knows? But you get the idea. We can basically be traced to anyone in the world through any relation they have with anyone on a first-name basis.

For a long time, it was thought that this idea was simply a myth until it there was a major scientific breakthrough made by a group of scientists who used ideas such as the transmission of diseases (specifically STI’s), transport networks like airports and train systems as well as being able to send a message from one side of a stadium to another. It was the use of concepts such as this that allowed this group of scientists to explore this idea. They called it ‘networking.’ In today’s modern-day era of businesses and the Internet, we usually associate that word with making friends to get you higher up in a chain of employees or ‘social networking’ through making friends online. The discoveries that these scientists were able to make, and the fact that they were able to find each other and collaborate was shown in a BBC documentary entitled ‘Six Degrees of Separation.’

One of the scientists, Marc Videl, devised an experiment where he sent a package to people around the world, urging them to send it to him without looking up his name on the Internet. The idea was that these people would be able to do so through sending it to people who they thought would be able to bring it closer to Videl in Boston. While most of the packages did not make it back, the average amount of steps it took was six.

Being the typical Gen Y that I am, I immediately thought of all the YouTube collaborations I had seen and how through one connection, a YouTuber would be able to work with several others. When I was thirteen, I had my first love, there was nobody could compared to mah baby and nobody came between us who could ever come above. HAHAHA, sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway, when I was thirteen, I was introduced to two supposedly opposing Youtubers, NigaHiga and KevJumba. They were experiencing a growth in popularity and so they were pinned against each other… Or at least that’s what I was told. Regardless of this rivalry they apparently had, they eventually formed a friendship and went on to collaborate with other YouTubers such as Wong Fu Productions, Chester See and David Choi… And those are only a few. I could obviously also mention Kina Grannis and Cathy Nguyen. Ryan Higa of NigaHiga and Kevin Wu of KevJumba went on to collaborate with YouTube stars Chester See, Victor Kim and Dominic Sandoval from Quest Crew as well as Andrew Garcia and JR Aquino who were both contestants on American Idol. Together, the seven founded ‘YTF.’ Since then, Wu has become inactive in the group. However, Higa, Wu and See have recently started a YouTube Network called ‘YOMYOMF‘ which featured various Hollywood stars including Jessica Alba and Masi Oka in its introductory video. I think it is pertinent to add that it was a connection that Wu made during the early parts of his YouTube career involving a staring contest video that challenged towards Alba that can be concluded as being the reason she became a part of this, his later project.

Wikipedia also brings to light how social networking website like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter explore this idea of ‘Six Degrees of Separation.’ LinkedIn has a very obvious relation with this concept, letting users know “how many steps you are away from a person you wish to communicate with” Similarly, Twitter users can create networks and Facebook users can use an app to calculate the degrees of separation. 

There is a creepy sense of warmth in knowing I am in such close quarters with everyone on Earth. While it is not an absolute conclusion, it’s pretty much there and I’m happy with pretty much. I’d like to think that the people I know can be awesome friends and resources at the same time.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

These results are alarming

Unfortunately for Yahoo, Bing, Ask and many other lesser known websites, Google is the most dominant search engine available. The brand name originates from the word ‘googol’ which is the word for the number one followed by one hundred zeros. As the story goes, this named originated from the fact that one of the creators wasn’t very good at spelling. Funnily enough, this also managed to create some copyright issues. But that’s beside the point.

Anyway, so the popularity of Google has caused it to become one of those brands that become a verb, where rather than telling someone to search something on the internet, you just tell them to “Google it.” It’s just like how I don’t even know the real name of Band-aids… Just this brand…

Well, it just goes to show that Google has a lot to offer in terms of its search results. You can also tell that it’s obviously a reliable website if people keep coming back to it. In fact, despite its huge popularity, this isn’t all that Google has to offer. Along with Google encompassing other social media like Blogger and YouTube, it also has many functions such as being able to search images, videos and translations!

As you can tell, I happen to love Google and it’s all-knowing ways. I also am very impressed with my recent discovery of Google alerts. All you have to do is put in a search query, any key word you like about anything that interests you and you can choose to have Google e-mail you as often as you like about anything that appears on the internet about whatever query you’ve put in!

Since I have been exploring all these different forms of social networking, I have developed an interest in social media. So naturally, that was my first search query, among others that would arrive shortly after of course. Upon looking through the first e-mail I received from Google alerts, I learned about the hilarious irony that has arisen since the realisation that Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of the notorious social networking site, Facebook, actually has more family members working at Google than at his own company.

Needless to say, not all of the alerts that show up in your inbox will be this scandalous. They can also be informative. Just like how I learned about the drastic fall in share prices of social media such as Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga. That is a lot of money.

The fact that these stories can be so different but still be related really exemplifies how varied the results of Google Alerts can be. It’s almost like you don’t need to go looking for news anymore. You can just input one thing, one time and Google finds it for you everyday. It’s doing all the work for you. Sorry Bing, you wil never replace Google in my heart.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Two reasons why you should try RSS

Let me begin by talking about another RSS… My Relatively Sad Start.

There was a significant amount of confusion surround the use of RSS for me. I don’t understand many things but this, this was a particularly difficult one for me. It didn’t help that Wikipedia was taunting me with it’s declaration of supposed simplicity.

I guess it could have been because I didn’t know who to subscribe to or how RSS could help me do research. Whatever it was, I am so glad that somebody in my course was nice enough to create a page where we could post our blog URL’s.

Enough of my ranting. Let’s get into the good points about RSS.

1. It’s the Hootsuite of the syndication world!

It compiles all the feeds/blogs/whatever else you wanna see and chucks it all in one place for easy access.

2. You don’t need cookies!

Rather than relying on the cookies on your browser to remember the websites you visit, all the URL’s of the feeds of your favourite websites are all in the Google Reader. So, you can switch straight over once you’ve checked your e-mails. Assuming that that’s the feed reader you choose.

Just so you know, when I use exclamation marks, it means you’re supposed to read it in an excited voice because I’m excited and you should be too.

-insert clever signoff- Christine

Copyright of Passage

Oh Christine, you are too punny!

With this whole uprising of copyright issues, I could only see fit that I also address any issues with any material I release as a result of this blog. Although I do highly doubt anything I publish is worth taking and claiming as your own, I do take pride in what I do and if other people can also appreciate it, I would like to see how!

Just for the record, this is the licence I am applying to my blog:

and I hope you take notice and respect my wishes.

This essentially means that you can:

“… Remix, tweak, and build upon [my] work even for commercial purposes, as long as [you] credit [me] and license [your] new creations under the identical terms.”

I would also like to make a point about Spam. It is a very good choice as a salty element to your fried rice and I really recommend it. Bacon also works but Spam offers a more chunky feel. After all, the whole purpose of fried rice is having chucks of meat, egg and veggies.

Wait a second, I think I was meant to talk about that other kind of spam. That horrible unsolicited bulk messages. Please don’t. Please. Fortunately for me, WordPress lets you approve comments before they are shown. So, there’s really no direct problem with posting rude or unnecessary things on my blog. Just know that it will be a terrible inconvenience on me and my time to remove stupid and/or horrible comments. Please don’t intentionally waste my time. It’s so precious. (Can you guess whose voice I read that last sentence in?)

In any case, any comments that are worth seeing in response to my posts will be approved. Even those that are critical, as long as it is constructive. Comments that are derogatory/hurtful/rude/deceiving will simply be marked as spam. And no, not the ham kind.

Sending hate or trying to advertise a dodgy website is as silly as YouTube asking me if I know I have a YouTube channel after I have liked a video.

Don’t be silly like YouTube.

Just standing my ground, guys. Just standing my ground.

-insert clever signoff- Christine